The talented Gabrielle Scawthorn delivers three separate but related monologues – The Apologist is a short but pithy evening with Scawthorn giving a somewhat bravura performance as she explores women caught up in the seemingly febrile world of apologising. And you thought it was just about saying sorry!
The women are either party to or recipients of an apology and the ensuing monologues explore ideas of guilt, remorse and even political correctness as they get caught up in tangled web of press releases, corporate PR or down right lies or simply truth evasion. They wrestle with the idea that a scripted response is not necessarily a true act of sorrow. However, it does present a complex world for these women where expediency is sometimes more important then remorse – sorry but get on with it!
Also interesting is the idea of how a slip up, as with our CEO of the NHS, requires not only an apology for remarks made under duress but quite possibly a resignation too – making us wonder if we are allowed to mistakes, after all she seemed to being doing the job well. The piece gets bound up with successful women not supporting each other as she marginalised a women who was trying to help her daughter which she thinks is a definition of unconscious bias. This monologue worked particularly well with vocal dynamics that told the tale of this very fraught woman. Scawthorn neatly draws a range of characters with a flick of the hand a toss of the head or vocal leap. In delivering the monologues she deftly drew the male characters with a vocal tone and stance that captured the well meaning (but misguided?) Alex in the charity world and with vocal dexterity, Dora, a sad old dear trod upon by the hard hitting visiting travel reviewer was easy for us to imagine.
However, for me the short vignettes, although performed with zeal, left me wanting to know more about the characters rather than simply exploring the theme further. After all the monologues in the The Apologist deal with marriage, family, work life balance self harm and sexual assault – the stuff of good drama – but what we get is a kind of polemical exploration. Certainly, they were thought provoking and topical (given what is happening at the Home Office) but they would have made for an interesting evening at Intelligence Squared rather than as a theatrical experience.
Director Jane Moriarty
Writers Iskander Sharazuddin
Lighting Saul Valinus
Sound Rob Donelly-Jackson
The Apologist continues it’s run at the Clapham Omnibus Theatre Studio till 8th March at 7.30 (Sundays at 4pm). You can book your tickets from 0207 498 4699 or www.omnibus-clapham.org